#166 Jordan Peterson ’12 Rules For Life’ Part 3
12 Rules For Life Talk at Emmanuel Center, London. Part 3
This episode of the Good Life Guys Show/Podcast is the third in a three-part series inspired by a talk that Stephen attended in-person, and Yasin watched on YouTube, by the great Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson. The talk focuses on Peterson’s new book 12 Rules For Life
Stay Aware Of What Is Going On Inside Yourself
It is very helpful to cultivate a deep awareness of all of the crazy, wild, weak, addicted, good, bad, and brilliant personality modules that are bubbling away inside you, vying for primacy. We all have good sides, and we all have bad sides. Denying your dark side is very dangerous. If you pretend to yourself (or trick yourself into genuinely believing) that you are a fully nice person with no potential for evil, then you are in a very precarious state, ripe to be taken over by your dark side at any moment.
All humans are capable of very naughty behaviour. As Jordan Peterson points out in 12 Rules For Life’ if you imagine from your cosy current vantage point that you would not have adapted to the role of an Auschwitz concentration camp guard if you had found yourself in those circumstances, you are probably sorely mistaken. As humans, we are all prone to blindly follow authority, and we are all very capable of malevolence.
Given that each of us harbors the potential for malevolence – it is crucial to stay on top of your urges and fantasies. We are all, each and every one of us, involved in a constant battle to stay aware of the darkness within, to manage it, to handle it. Seeing your dark side and potential for bad behaviour crystal clearly and not living in denial of it is an essential stage in the fight to not let those dark urges take over and affect our behaviour.
Understanding that we are all capable of evil deeds makes it more possible to not hate other people for doing bad things. “Love the sinner, hate the sin” – this is the only logical way to think because people are fantastically complex, never all bad, never all good. It is helpful to see the dark sides of other people for what they are, namely the outgrowth of the same malevolence seeds that we all have inside us. We must learn to see human evil as the pervasive thing that it is in order to effectively fight against it, in ourselves and in other people, and in society at large.
It is also helpful to go through your life with a fine tooth comb in order to discover your own bespoke weaknesses. Where are you continually fucking up? What are your particular areas of weakness? As Jordan Peterson asks in 12 Rules For Life, where in your life are you continually stepping on the metaphorical garden rake and getting smacked in the face again and again and again? If you can be conscious enough to clearly see where you are vulnerable and prone to harmful behaviour then you can make special efforts to stop doing the stupid and destructive behaviours that you most commonly do.
Praise Good Behaviour
An idea that Jordan Peterson discussed in 12 Rules For Life that particularly appealed to us was the value and effectiveness of lavishing big praise on people when they do great things. It’s easy to praise, but it’s also unfortunately easy to forget to do so. When somebody does something good, when they perform a good conscious behaviour, never let that go by without commenting and congratulating them. When a friend corrects a personality flaw and you notice it, never hesitate to say “I saw what you did there, and I admire it, great work.” Praise for work well done is incredibly reinforcing, and lavishing it on people will encourage them and push them to even higher planes of performance.
Carl Rogers, Empathic Listen, Steelmanning
A key skill that will help you and everybody that you come into contact with is the ability to ‘steelman’ those that you are in conversation with. Steelmanning is the opposite to straw-manning, and it involves letting a person speak, to say all that they want to say, without interruption, to listen intently and then to restate their point back to them in such clarity that they agree that you have thoroughly understood them. This level of listening (very similar to Carl Rogers’ method of ‘empathic listening’) is a superpower because it is so rare. If you can listen to this high standard you will learn so much about other people and the world, and you will give other people the gift of being heard.
You can check out Carl Rogers groundbreaking book in which he describes his experiences in helping people to discover the path to personal growth through an understanding of their own limitations and potential.
Get 12 Rules For Life
If you’d like to read Jordan Peterson’s book, click on the image below to buy it:
And you can check out Jordan Peterson’s website here for more of his resources.